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Gerald E. Frug

Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Emeritus

In Memoriam

Gerald E. Frug
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Gerald Frug was the Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, emeritus, at Harvard Law School. Educated at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School, he worked as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C., and as Health Services Deputy Administrator of the City of New York before he began teaching in 1974 at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1981. Professor Frug’s specialty was local government law, a subject he taught for more than thirty years. He published dozens of articles on the topic and authored, among other works, a casebook – Local Government Law (6th edition 2015, with David Barron and Richard T. Ford – 7th edition) – and two other books: City Bound: How States Stifle Urban Innovation (Cornell University Press 2008, with David Barron), and City Making: Building Communities without Building Walls (Princeton University Press 1999).

Professor Frug’s work focused on local government issues both in the United States and around the world. In the United States, he wrote about specific cities (such as Boston and New York) and on topics that affect the United States generally (such as regionalism and city power). Colleagues who teach and write about urban studies from other disciplines at Harvard and elsewhere – in particular, at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and the London School of Economics – were an important influence on this work. Outside the United States, he was one of the originators of a series of conferences, called Urban Age, administered by the London School of Economics. These conferences brought together academic and local officials whose work focuses on the cities where the conferences take place. Cities involved included Shanghai, Mexico City, Mumbai, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, and London. Professor Frug also lectured widely on his own, including as the James Stirling Memorial Lecturer on the City in Montreal and London in 2010-2011.

In addition to teaching local government law, Professor Frug frequently offered a seminar, called Green New York, co-taught with attorneys from the Law Department of the City of New York and Professor David Barron, which explored the legal problems facing the environmental agenda of the New York City government. Other seminars he taught covered a wide range of topics, ranging from Tocqueville to Postmodern Legal Theory to Comparative Local Government Law. And, by no means least, he taught Contracts virtually every year since the beginning of his teaching career.